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16th July 2020 Interviews

Paul Coughlin: It will be emotional when I get back out there in a Durham shirt.

Paul Coughlin has admitted that it will be an emotional experience when he returns to the field for the first time as a Durham player when the season officially returns on August 1. 

The 28-year-old left Emirates Riverside at the end of the 2017 campaign to join Nottinghamshire. However, a desire to return to the North East resulted in Notts allowing Coughlin to secure a move back to Durham. And although, his comeback has been halted once more by the delayed start to the term, Coughlin is eager to get his re-ignite his career in familiar surroundings.

“It will be emotional when I get back out there in a Durham shirt,” Coughlin said.

“I told Alan Walker the other day and to others during pre-season that it would be emotional. I pulled my first-class cap out of the draw and it was a very sentimental moment. I can’t wait to get it back on. It has been stalled again, but when it does come around it will be emotional and I’m looking forward to it.

“It has been frustrating over the last couple of years. I only played four matches at the end of last year, which is pretty much the only cricket that I’ve played since I left Durham. I was still under contract at Nottinghamshire so I had to try to work out an agreement to leave.

“Obviously they didn’t want me to leave, but it was more due to family and personal reasons. When I left Durham initially, Notts was the only other place I would want to play cricket. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out.

“It’s been frustrating that we’ve not been able to start on time this year. It’s almost like a restart and it’s a different direction that I’m going in now in my career. I’m back and raring to get started again.”

Since Coughlin last took to the field as a Durham player notable changes have occurred in the backroom staff. Marcus North and James Franklin have replaced Geoff Cook and Jon Lewis in the senior management roles at the club.

Coughlin has revealed that he held discussions with both men about his role in the team, and is optimistic that the strength in depth Durham boast across the board will help them compete in all three formats when the truncated season gets underway on August 1.

He added: “To get the opportunity to come back to Durham – I was over the moon that Northy and Franky would allow me to return. It’s obviously a different set-up from when I was last here. My role in the team moving forward is something that we did discuss.

“In the past I’ve been seen as a bowling all-rounder. We’ve got quite a bit of strength there with Brydon Carse, and he’s obviously around the England team at the moment, and Ben Raine. There’s plenty of competition for that place and that’s good for us and the team.

“I don’t think we’re necessarily focused on the one-day competitions. We’ve got a lot of depth in the squad so that we can push forward in all formats. We’ve got a lot of strength in our team to take on all competitions. So I don’t think we’ll be prioritising one competition more than the others.”

All 18 first-class counties have agreed to play a regionalised red-ball competition, named the Bob Willis Trophy, and the Vitality Blast this summer.

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